There have always been conspiracy theories. Certainly in a sinful world there are groups that work together to accomplish evil purposes. Daniel’s political rivals worked together with the king to make a law that resulted in Daniel being tossed into the lion’s den. The devil and his demons always attempt to thwart God’s good purposes. The internet, however, has given conspiracy theories new life and sticking power. Sadly, people are spending too much time online searching for the latest proof of the master plans of those who are out to get us.
In a sinful world bad people do bad things. Evil is all around us. Those with a mind for conspiracy are especially upset by the wickedness in the world. They want to sort it out. They want to understand it. They want to be protected from it. They struggle to believe that evil is isolated. They search for connections and try to formulate understandings of how everything fits together.
There have always been people who think they have unlocked seditious connections. The Mel Gibson character in the 1997 movie called Conspiracy Theory was forced to mail out a secret newsletter to those on his special mailing list. Now the internet and alternative media have given such people megaphones to spread their conspiracies. Just cut and paste all the links.
If a conspiracy is spun well it becomes irrefutable. Any bit of evidence that the conspiracy is wrong only enlarges the conspiracy and becomes proof that it is right all along. If you doubt me about this, try to offer a conspiracy believer a reason that they are wrong!
I don’t doubt the sincerity or earnestness of those who believe in conspiracies. I think they mean well. I’m sure some conspiracy detectives are motivated by the pride of being an enlightened insider (and not one of the “sheeple” headed to the slaughter!). But, I think many conspiracy minded people are upset by the evils and dangers of the world and hope to protect themselves and those they love from the awful results of malicious coordinated efforts.
Do I think most of the conspiracy theories have merit? No. As I said, in a fallen world, bad things happen all of the time. Certainly, there have been and will always be coordinated efforts to accomplish evil things. But when the concern is secret, powerful, anonymous individuals or groups controlling vast forces to bring harm to the masses for a hidden agenda, I don’t think it is likely to be real.
One humorous observation is that if those powerful masterminds are so smart and coordinated why do they leave so many obvious clues of their evil plans lying around? If their conspiracy was so solid, don’t you think they would cover their tracks a little better? How did the renegade YouTuber with a laptop unmask everything and reveal it to the world?
Another observation is that the renegade YouTuber is still alive and well and actually making money revealing the bad guys evil plots. If the powerful masterminds were so powerful, wouldn’t it make sense for them to eliminate the competition? (I actually realize that even making these observations puts me in the sights of the conspirators. Even these observations will somehow become part of the proof of the reality of the conspiracy.)
The biggest problem with those in pursuit of conspiracies is their loss of focus as to the reasons God put us on the earth. Our job is to seek the Lord. After we repent of our sins and trust in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead, our job is to live for his glory.
I get concerned about the worry I hear from those convinced of conspiracy theories. The Bible offers clear instructions and sweet promises about worry. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Instead of becoming riddled with concern about the next manifestation of coordinated evil in the world, seek the Lord. Fill your mind with his many blessings. Be thankful. Experience his promised peace.
I get concerned about the time people are spending trying to learn about the next pieces of the conspiracies. Of course, Christians aren’t to read the Bible all of the time, but shouldn’t we value the Bible more than gold and silver (Ps. 19:10)? How can we meditate on God’s truth all of the time (Ps. 1:1-3) when we are spending so much time watching news and searching the internet?
I get concerned about all of the motive judging and speculation involved with conspiracy theories. We should strive to conform our thinking to truth. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8). Filling our heads with ‘what ifs’ and the bad guys did this or that for these evil motivations is not helpful. Think on what is true.
I get concerned when attention shifts from telling people about Jesus to telling people all about the latest insight on conspiracy.com. When you are seen as the messenger of speculations about evil masterplans how receptive will your listeners be when you try to share God’s truth about sin and righteousness? How well will someone be prepared to meet God when they die if you convince them about all of your favorite conspiracies but they don’t hear about Jesus?
I get concerned about an under-emphasis on the sovereign plan of God. Everything that happens has to go through God to occur (Eph.1:11)—even sins that happen are still allowed within God’s plans. Sometimes when you hear the latest conspiracy theory you would think the devil was in charge. You would think the bad guys have it all figured out and their wills will be done. You would think poor God is on the sidelines hoping that his people will finally be sent a link to the right website to figure everything out and be saved.
Remember the conspiracy against Daniel that successfully ousted him from high office and got him a date with the lions? How did that actually turn out? God sovereignly protected Daniel, Daniel’s enemies were all destroyed by those same lions, and Daniel’s king declared that Daniel’s God was the one true God.
May we never lose sight of almighty God and his sovereign plan. He sometimes even uses evil conspiracies to accomplish his glorious ends. Can you think of a worse conspiracy than the one that put the Son of God on the cross? God was working in that one too!
Some of the insights about conspiracy theories in this article come from Michael Butter’s The Nature of Conspiracy Theories (Cambridge: Polity, 2020) and Daniel Darling’s A Way with Words (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2020).
By John Crotts